Guidance — No Checking/Modified Checking
US Lacrosse is attempting to send a consistent message regarding checking to youth players, whether they are using the regular women's lacrosse rules or following the girls' rules. Players below the seventh grade level should not be stick checking. It is the hope of the Rules Committee that mandating no checking will allow the beginning player to work on the basic fundamentals of the game - passing, catching, footwork, proper positioning, and marking - before they are introduced to the more advanced skill of stick checking.
Once players have mastered the basic fundamentals, coaches will want to introduce stick checking. Players on 7th and 8th grade teams will be allowed to use modified checking as an intermediate step towards full checking. Modified checking is defined as checking the stick if it is below shoulder level, using a downward motion away from the other player's body. Use of modified checking will allow the older youth player to learn proper checking skills, while at the same time encouraging good cradling and stick handling skills for the attack player. Umpires and coaches should strictly enforce this rule, never allowing checks near a player's head or face.
It should be noted that stick-to-stick contact is not necessarily a violation of the no checking/modified checking rule. A defender who is holding her stick in good defensive position may force the attack player to cradle into her stick causing contact. This is not considered a stick check, as the attack player initiated the contact, not the defender. A similar situation would exist when the defender puts her stick up in an attempt to block or intercept a pass and the attacker makes contact while in the act of passing or catching the ball.
Please note that it will be left to individual school districts, counties, and leagues to decide what they consider a seventh grade team and an eighth grade team.
Official Rules for Girls Youth Lacrosse
The purpose of the Official Girls Youth rules is to familiarize young players with the sport of women's lacrosse by introducing them to the terms, the field, the playing positions, the concept of teamwork and the skills required to play the game safely and fairly. These rules were written by the US Lacrosse Women's Division and ratified by the US Lacrosse Youth Council in an effort to standardize youth rules for girls throughout the United States. Youth leagues may decide on age level play that best suits their needs, within the following suggested guidelines: 6-8 year olds (Under 9), 9-10 year olds (Under 11), 11-12 year olds (Under 13), 13-14 year olds (Under 15).
The girls' youth rules are divided by levels (A, B, and C). Beginning teams/players would be expected to use Level B or C rules, which do not allow checking and do allow certain stick modifications to make throwing and catching easier. Players would then progress to Level A rules which allow modified checking and require the use of a regulation crosse and pocket.
Any tournament play sponsored or sanctioned by US Lacrosse, such as the US Lacrosse Youth Festival, will use the following age and rule levels: Under 13 - Level B rules; Under 15 - Level A rules. Non-US Lacrosse sponsored tournaments should follow an age/rule level format and announce to participants prior to the tournament which level(s) (A,B,C) will be used at their event to avoid any confusion.
It is strongly recommended that at least one qualified umpire be assigned to Level C games, and two qualified umpires be assigned to Level A and B games.
Goals - regulation lacrosse goal cages; smaller (street hockey type) cages may be used for indoor play and for Level C playing outdoors.
Ball - may use a regulation ball, or a “soft” ball. It is highly recommended that new or beginner programs use the soft ball until players have developed their throwing and catching skills. If a soft ball is used, it should be approximately the same size as a regulation ball. A regulation ball may be used for indoor play, however a “no bounce” ball is recommended.
Sticks - Level C may use a youth stick with mesh or traditional stringing or regulation women's crosse and may have a modified pocket. With a modified pocket, only half the ball may fall below the bottom of the sidewall. Level B must use a regulation women's crosse with either a regular or modified pocket. Level A must use a regulation women's crosse with regular pocket.
Protective equipment - mouthguards and eyewear are mandatory at all levels. Close fitting gloves are permitted, as is soft headgear; no hard helmets except the goalie. Goalie must wear helmet with face mask, separate throat protector, chest protector, goalie gloves, and leg padding on the shins and thighs. Protection for the abdominal area for goalies is strongly recommended. All protective devices used should be close fitting, padded where necessary, and not be of excessive weight.
There are no measured boundaries. Official(s) decide on the boundaries. When playing indoors, play the rebound where possible.
Level A - desirable field length is 100 yds. between goal lines, 10 yds. behind each goal, and 70 yds. wide. Field should be marked according to US Lacrosse Women's Rules including a restraining line. (See Rule 3, page 9.)
Level B - desirable field length is 90 yds. between goal lines, 10 yds. behind each goal, and 50 yds. wide. Field should be marked according to US Lacrosse Women's Rules including a restraining line. (See Rule 3, page 9.)
Level C - desirable field length is 50 yds. between goal lines, 10 yds. behind each goal, and 25 yds. wide. Field markings should include two goal circles (radius 2m) with a goal line in each, two 8m arcs around each goal circle and a center line.
Start of the Game
The procedure for the start of the game/draw shall be the same as outlined in Rule 10 of the US Lacrosse Women's Rules with the following modification: for all levels, a free position will be taken at the center by the team with fewer goals if a four or more goal differential exists. When this occurs positioning for the draw will apply.
All play is started and stopped with the whistle. All players must stop and stand when the whistle blows (to stop play). All may move again when the next whistle blows.
A goal is scored when the ball passes completely over the goal line and into the goal cage. Scoring must be by an attacker's crosse, and not off the body of an attack player. A goal may be scored off the defender's body or crosse.
Substitution is unlimited and the substitution procedure should be the same as outlined in Rule 9 of the US Lacrosse Women's Rules, i.e. substitute any time during play, after goals, and at halftime.
Duration of Play
Level A - 25-minutes running time per half (maximum)
Level B - 25-minutes running time per half (maximum)
Level C - 20-minutes running time per half (maximum)
At all levels, the clock will be stopped on every whistle (to stop play) in the last two minutes of each helf. Teams may choose to play four quarters, but total playing time should not exceed the maximum time for each level. The clock will stop on every whistle (to stop play) in the last minute of each quarter.
Fouls shall be the same as those outlined in Rule 18 of the US Lacrosse Women's Rules with the following modifications:
Note: If the player with the ball takes the stick to the other side of her body and thus away from the defender making a legal check impossible, the 3-second count would be over. If the defender adjusts her position to where a legal check could be made, the count starts again. If another teammate joins the defender and that second defender is in good position to check, the count starts again. The umpire will give an audible 3-second count. The purpose of this rule is to encourage good defensive positioning and to make the offensive player aware of her defender. The attack player must try to keep the stick away from the defender, and, if she does not she will be forced to pass or she will lose the ball. Even when the defender may not check, if she is in good defensive position she will force the attack player to pass. This will give her team a chance for a play on the ball either by interception, by blocking the attempted pass, or by forcing a bad pass and causing a ground ball.
Penalties for Fouls
The penalty for fouls is a free position with all players, including the offender, moving 4m away from the player with the ball. For specifics on major, minor, and goal circle fouls and carding, see Rule 19 (page 41) in the US Lacrosse Women's Rules. A 3-second violation is considered a minor foul with the closest defender to the ball carrier being awarded the ball. The only modification for these youth rules is in Level C, where all free positions are indirect (i.e., the player with the ball may never shoot directly from the free position).
Definition of Terms
Closely Guarded: Player with the ball has an opponent within a sticks length.
Free Position: Penalty awarded for a foul. Player who has been fouled gets the ball and all others must move 4m away.
Indirect Free Position: No shot on goal may be made until the player with the ball passes the ball to another player.
Modified Checking: Checking the stick only if it is below shoulder level. The check must be in a downward direction and away from the body.
Pass: Exchange of the ball through the air from one teammate's crosse to another.
Possession: A player has the ball in their crosse.
Position to Check: Player has an opportunity to legally check the stick without fouling (the 3-second count starts when the umpire deems that the player with the ball could be checked legally if checking were permitted.)
Level A Specifics
Level B Specifics
Level C Specifics
These rules were written with the safety of all the players being of utmost importance. Youth lacrosse should be fun, challenging and safe. To that end, the umpires shall have the authority to penalize any foul, unsafe play, or unacceptable behavior not covered specifically in these rules. Play should be as continuous as possible, and any foul which does not gain an advantage for the offender or her team should result in a “held” whistle whenever possible.